Celebrity spotting is easy in the restaurant at the Channel 4 television centre in London. Here, head chef Danny Breen often sees Big Breakfast presenter Johnny Vaughan and impressionist Rory Bremner, among others, tucking into one of his creations.
However, most of the customers at the EatonFine Dining unit are women, and it is their "waistline watching" that has a major influence on the dishes offered.
"The ladies are very health-conscious, and they make up about 70% of our customers," says Breen. "They are also keen on vegetarian food. In fact, about half of the people who eat here are vegetarian. Our customers are very cosmopolitan and favour pasta dishes, especially with ricotta cheese. Old favourites such as vegetable hotpot and vegetable lattice also go well, and they have really taken to Spanish omelette."
Made in the traditional way with potatoes, tomatoes, red onions and mushrooms, Spanish omelettewas a runaway success at a recent theme day. Breen, who joined Eaton Fine Dining in January from the House of Commons, where he worked under mentor David Dorricott, organises special theme days every other week.
"So far we have had Italian, French, Spanish and Mexican theme days where we concentrate on authentic dishes," he says. "Chicken and vegetable fajitas were best sellers on the Mexican day."
Although most of the food prepared by Breen and his brigade of three chefs is destined for the 100-seat restaurant, which opens from 12.30pm to 2.30pm (supplemented by a barbecue in the adjacent patio garden on warm days), there is an increasing demand from people who can't get out of meetings or away from their desks. To meet this need, Breen operates a trolley service around the offices twice a day, and sells about 100 sandwiches, baguettes and tortilla wraps each day.
There is also demand for a formal fine-diningservice for the boardroom, where a typical three-course lunch might include chargrilled chicken with abalsamic vinegar dressing and rocket, salmon in a tarragon and cream sauce with wild mushrooms, and lemon syllabub. n